Macross Plus revisited

Around ten years ago, I got my hands on a copy of Macross Plus: Ultimate edition DVD, and spent a couple of evenings watching the OVA and movie. This was my first exposure to one of Japan’s biggest mecha franchises, but also the only part that had made it across, unadulterated, to the UK. I knew that Macross was all about mecha and singing, but I was watching it out of context, with no other knowledge of that universe. And whilst it is meant to be a standalone story, it did suffer for being watched on its own. Who or what are the Zentradi? What are the importance of variable fighters? What even is the titular ‘Macross’? None of these are addressed in the OVA, so if you don’t already know, all of that is lost on you. As you can imagine, therefore, I didn’t rate Macross Plus very highly. Continue reading “Macross Plus revisited”

Shadow of the Colossus: art or pain?

Last winter, I finally got around the playing Shadow of the Colossus. In the time it took me to finally play the game, I had already upgraded my original PS2 copy to the PS3 HD remaster – and now there’s a PS4 remake on the way. The trailers for the remake soon attracted comments from people eager to buy yet another copy of the game, or even a PS4 upon which to play it. Clearly, Shadow of the Colossus has a keen fan following – but is it really such an amazing masterpiece? Continue reading “Shadow of the Colossus: art or pain?”

Why Tales of Zestiria was a disappointment

Nothing improves a game quite like having all the characters wear cats on their heads.

As we count down towards the release of Tales of Berseria, I’ve been spending time with the previous game in the series – Tales of Zestiria. I had put Zestiria aside in 2015 after being underwhelmed with it, and upon returning to the game, it did little to acquit itself.

Continue reading “Why Tales of Zestiria was a disappointment”

Five improvements I’d like to see in Ni No Kuni 2

ni-no-kuni-town

I love Ni No Kuni. It’s a fantastic game, a fairytale story animated by Studio Ghibli that never fails to enchant from start to finish. It’s a game that I can spend tens of hours playing without really noticing the passage of time, and one that never fails to delight – all of which means I’m very much looking forward to Ni No Kuni 2. That being said, Ni No Kuni wasn’t without its flaws. If the sequel really wants to wow and amaze me, without having those same little niggles, these are the areas where it will really need to get its act together. Continue reading “Five improvements I’d like to see in Ni No Kuni 2”

Sibling Rivalry: Nohr vs Hoshido

siblings

In Fire Emblem Fates, you can choose to ally yourself with either side: Hoshido, your birth family, and seemingly the obvious good guys; or Nohr, the family you grew up, and who aren’t as evil as their dark aesthetic would seem to suggest. Either way, you end up with four siblings – but which is better? There’s only one way to find out. Continue reading “Sibling Rivalry: Nohr vs Hoshido”

Dark Side Gaming Rant: Nier

nier

Nier and his pals – a talking book, a foul-mouthed warrior and Jack Skellington Jr.

I think I’m supposed to like Nier. Back when it was released, all the reviews seemed favourable, and in the intervening years, people still spoke positively about it. And when a sequel was announced, I thought I’d better finally take my copy off the shelf and give it a whirl.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed. Continue reading “Dark Side Gaming Rant: Nier”

Japanese Kit Kat Selection

Japan is full of strange things. Even the Kit Kat, a fairly standard chocolate-covered wafer bar, has been embraced and transformed into many different weird and wonderful flavours. Armed with curiosity and a love of sweets, my friends and I decided to delve into this mini Kit Kat selection box. Here’s what we found.

Edit – Jun 2017: Over the past year, a good friend and I have both visited Japan and brought back/imported even more Kit Kats. I have updated the post accordingly.

Continue reading “Japanese Kit Kat Selection”

Final Fantasy VII: so they're remaking it at last

FF7 and I have a complex relationship. Back in my teens, I adored the game and played it endlessly, unlocking everything I could find, setting myself challenges such as beating Sephiroth without any materia equipped, and even scribbling in my Brady Games strategy guide in an attempt to make it more accurate and complete. Then in my twenties, I became bitter and cynical, and could only focus on all the frustrating and imperfect aspects of the game that made the reality fall short of the rose-tinted memories. Now, in my thirties, I have forgiven FF7 somewhat, because whilst it is far from perfect, it still brought me a lot of fun over the years.

It’s with both excitement and trepidation that I, like many others, await the remake that Square-Enix always claimed they wouldn’t make, even when it was inevitable that one day they would cave in and do just that. Earlier games in the series have benefited from remakes that brought them back into circulation and introduced them to a new generation. And certainly FF7 has always been a bit lacking in some areas, what with its simplistic 3D graphics and error-ridden English translation. But can a remake do the game justice? Will all the parts we love, or at least love to hate, be as we remember them? Can this game really be remade without turning it into a pile of trash not unlike the painfully bad FF13? All of these things remain to be seen, but rather than focussing on the major aspects of the game here, in this article, I’ll be looking at the little things that gave FF7 its distinct personality. They’re random, obscure, and wouldn’t be missed by casual players, but for good or ill, FF7 wouldn’t be the same game without them.

Continue reading “Final Fantasy VII: so they're remaking it at last”